New Brunswick RCMP clash with Mi’kmaq-led protesters in shale gas battle

Matthew Coutts

Heavily-armed RCMP officers moved against a Mi’kmaq-led blockade in New Brusnwick on Thursday, leading to what appears to be an inevitable clash with anti-fracking protesters said to be "willing to die" to hold their position.

APTN National News reports that police moved in on protesters near Rexton, N.B., to enforce an injunction against a barricade blocking a company from completing shale gas exploration. Police reportedly arrested several activists, prompting resident from the Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog to swarm the protest site.

The standoff could get worse. APTN quotes on protester who said they were “willing to die” as part of their months-long protest against the possible fracking of shale gas in the region.

Vivid images of protesters squaring off against authorities began spreading on Facebook and Twitter Thursday afternoon, including camouflaged officers will rifles and a lone demonstrator holding a feather aloft as a line of responders looks on.

Other images show a police vehicle on fire, and a video posted on Facebook captures a woman screaming for police to stop pointing their guns at her, and warning them that children were on site.

APTN reported a Molotov cocktail being thrown at police and CBC News says pepper gas has been fired at the protesters. RCMP have alerted residents to several closed roads in the area.